Avoid the QDRO Trap!
Secure Your Hard Won Retirement Benefits Today!
Since 2004, QDRO Colorado has worked with pro-se divorce clients, divorce attorneys and mediators helping navigate the complex and highly technical world of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders ("QDROs"). Don Rowell, the owner and Colorado licensed attorney since 1994, works directly with all of his clients. There is no secretary or paralagal involved-just Don-so you get personalized, first-class service.
In addition to his legal experience, Don has retirement plan expertise based on his prior years of service in the financial services industry. He held multiple securities licenses as well as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation before retiring from the industry. No one has more broad, comprehensive legal and retirement plan experience for QDRO application than Don.
What is a QDRO? A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a legal document that directs the administrator of a qualified retirement plan (401k, pension, etc.) to transfer to an ex-spouse a portion of his/her retirement plan.
Pensions, 401(k)s and other qualified retirement plans are often the most significant marital asset in divorce cases. It is vital that the QDRO be properly drafted to protect the respective rights of the parties.
QDROs are complex and highly technical legal documents. A small mistake in the language used in the QDRO could cost you thousands of dollars in lost benefit payments. Be wary of "model" QDROs that plan administrators provide—they are often designed to benefit the plan and the participant spouse.
It is very important that the QDRO drafting process be initiated and completed as soon as possible in the divorce process, since a delay in getting the QDRO filed and accepted by the plan administrator could result in a loss of benefits by the non-participant spouse if the participant spouse dies, retires, quits, is terminated, etc. prior to the implementation of the QDRO.
A Too Frequent Scenario:
Husband and wife enter into a divorce settlement agreement and a Divorce Decree is entered by the Court. The settlement agreement and Divorce Decree simply state, "All retirement assets will be equally divided between the parties." Husband and wife are relieved that the divorce proceedings are finally over.
Several months later, the parties jointly retain a QDRO expert to draft the documents dividing up the retirement plans. Problem: His 401(k) has dropped in value by $65,000 -- what was the official division date? The divorce decree doesn't say. Are gains/losses in the award amount included or excluded? What about any outstanding loan on the account? The divorce decree doesn't say.
Sadly, this is an all-too-common situation, because there is much confusion in the legal community regarding retirement plans in general and QDROs in particular.